Hypertension or High Blood Pressure affects over 1.13 billion adults and is the leading PREVENTABLE cause of premature deaths worldwide. In the Philippines alone, studies show that the hypertension death rate has increased from 11% to 21% in the last three decades.
Almost everyone in my family from my father’s side to my mother’s side are predisposed to having high blood pressure and heart diseases. I am blessed to have gained knowledge about the ailment and on how to prevent or manage it properly early in my life but other people are not so fortunate thus the growth in the numbers.
Why are we talking about hypertension?
Well basically it’s because of the holiday season. Studies have shown that December (or Christmas) was associated with a 15% increased risk of having a heart attack compared to other times of the year, the highest risk being on Christmas Eve. This is particularly true for older individuals with diabetes and established heart disease.
There are numerous risk factors for heart disease including high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, tobacco use, being overweight or obese, alcohol use and lack of physical activity. All of these risk factors can come into play during the holiday season with the hustle and bustle, overextended commitments, shopping responsibilities and entertaining family and friends.
I predict that the risk is double this year since we are in a global pandemic situation and mobility is very much restricted because of the imposed community quarantines in most areas.
This is the reason why we should also consider Christmas as a time to appreciate and safeguard the gift of health. To promote healthy diet and exercise among our families and friends. To encourage everyone to be safe and healthy at all times so that we can enjoy the holidays and welcome the new year without any sad news.
Here are some important things you should know about hypertension:
- Hypertension, or high blood pressure is a condition where the blood pressure in the arteries is high over a long period of time.
- Blood Pressure (BP), or the pressure of circulating blood in the artery walls, is measured using a BP monitor. The recommended optimal blood pressure is 120/80
- When your BP is 140/90 or over for a long period of time, that is already considered as hypertension. Check with your doctor if your BP is optimal or if it needs medical attention.
- Hypertension rarely has noticeable symptoms so it’s important to have your BP checked regularly.
- Hypertension is a major risk factor for: coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and vision loss.
How to prevent hypertension?
Hypertension is preventable and manageable and there are several ways to do it:
- Don’t smoke
- Watch your alcohol intake
- Eat a heart-healthy diet. Challenge yourself and your loved ones to create dishes rich in colorful veggies, fruits, and whole grains!
- Get moving: Aim for at least 30 to 60 minutes of activity daily
- Maintain a healthy weight and cut on salt and sugary drinks
- Listen to your body. Several signs of a heart attack can mimic how people can feel after eating a big meal or rushing around, such as shortness of breath or chest pains. It’s important to pay attention to any unusual symptoms, especially if you have other medical conditions.
- Get good quality sleep
- Look out for friends and family members. In addition to existing cardiac patients, older people and diabetics also are at higher risk of heart attack. Diabetics may have nerve damage that prevents them from feeling pain, for example.
Bottomline is to take good care of yourself by not doing anything that is excessive.
Panata ng Pamilya Campaign by Sanofi
In line with this, Sanofi, the Philippines’ trusted health partner in chronic diseases, commits to promote the health and wellness of Filipino families through holistic healthcare support and education with special focus on Diabetes, Hypertension and Chronic Kidney Disease.
Aside from disease awareness, part of Sanofi’s advocacy is to bridge the gap between Filipinos and Healthcare, looking for ways on how to provide better care collaborating with doctors, patients, and healthcare providers through holistic solutions and innovations.
Sanofi has done initiatives to help support patients’ needs such as:
Healthier PH Sessions
These are thoughtful online discussions related to managing our family’s health and promoting healthy lifestyles and habits.
An eHealth ecosystem to build a healthier Philippines by connecting patients and doctors especially in the new normal. It connects doctors, patients, and healthcare providers through holistic solutions and innovations. This means you can get medical consultations anytime or have your medicines delivered straight to your home.
The program partners with SeriousMD, AIDE, KonsultaMD, and Medifi, along with Watson’s and SouthStar Drug.
Empower Patient Support Program
Usually people with Diabetes are predisposed to having hypertension and vice-versa. Through the Empower program, continuous care and medical education are given to enrolled Persons with Diabetes with up to one year of coverage.
The program features Paperless Online Enrollment for eligible patients with Type 2 Diabetes at the recommendation of a doctor. A diabetes kit provided upon enrollment.
Online Patient Education, as well as Diabetes Educators (DEs) who will stay in constant touch and do weekly check-ins. Patients can have blood glucose monitoring remotely and communicate to medical experts remotely via a Telemedicine platform.
It really all begins with the lifestyle of the family. Education starts very early. If we empower everyone in the family to be healthy, this will play a major role in stopping the prevalence of chronic diseases in the next coming years.
Starting this year, may your New year’s resolution be: a healthier you for a healthier Philippines.
For more information, visit https://www.sanofi.ph
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